For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 2, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law on October 24 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Details on the event here.

Proposition 2: Use Millionaire’s Tax Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Housing Bonds Measure

Current Law

  • In 2004, California passed Proposition 63, which put into effect the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).
  • Proposition 63 was created to expand and improve mental health services across the state, to be funded by a 1% tax on individual incomes exceeding $1 million.
  • Implementation of the MHSA has been plagued with issues, including poor oversight and mismanagement of funds.

Proposed Law

Proposition 2 authorizes the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to distribute funds from MHSA to the No Place Like Home Program (NPLHP) to create permanent housing for individuals with mental illness who are homeless or at risk for chronic homelessness. It also authorizes the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) to enter into contracts with developers and others for this purpose

Proposition 2 also creates a Supportive Housing Program Subaccount within the Mental Health Services Fund in which all general fund appropriations and MHSA funds will be collected and distributed, and authorizes CHFFA to issue bonds in an amount not exceeding two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) to finance permanent supportive housing pursuant to the No Place Like Home Program and related purposes. Finally, it authorizes the California Legislature to appropriate up to $140 million per year to fund the Supportive Housing Program Subaccount. Any funding from such appropriation, up to a $140 million threshold, reduces the authorized but unissued amount of bonds that the CHFFA may issue.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 2 No on Proposition 2
  • Authorizes the state to use revenue from Proposition 63 (2004)—a 1 percent tax on income above $1 million – for mental health services
  • Authorizes issuance of $2 billion in revenue bonds for homelessness prevention housing for persons in need of mental health services.
  • Will deliver reliable and safe housing to mental health patients that live on the streets.
  • No vote opposes authorizing the state to use revenue from Proposition 63 (2004) on housing related projects including issuance of $2 billion in revenue bonds for homelessness prevention housing for persons in need of mental health services.
  • Proposition 2 will only benefit bureaucrats, developers, and other businesses that will receive most of the funds.

Analysis of Proposition 2 provided by David Witkin and Kaylin Huang.

 

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 1, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law on October 24 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Details on the event here.

Proposition 1: Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018

Current Law                                                                                                                             

  • The Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Acts of 2002 and 2006 were passed by voters to provide a total of $4.95 billion in state bonds to fund various housing programs.
  • The Veterans’ Farm and Home Purchase Act of 1974 provides veterans with the opportunity to acquire farms and homes. The program has been partly financed through state bonds.

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 1 will authorize 4 billion in bond funding for existing affordable housing programs and for the veterans home loan program.
  • The cost of the affordable housing bonds to the State would be about $170 million annually for 35 years. No direct costs to the State for the veterans housing bond.

Proposition 1 Bond Fund Allocation

Program Purpose Amount
Affordable Multifamily Housing

  • Multifamily Housing Program
  • Local Housing Trust Matching Grant
Construct and renovate affordable housing, including rental housing for lower income households. $1.8 billion
Development

  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Infill Incentive Grant
Construct housing in urbanized infill areas and near public transportation. Improve infrastructure such as parks, water, sewer, and transit in infill areas. $450 million
Home Ownership

  • Home Purchase Assistance Program
  • Self-Help Housing Program
Assist low- and moderate-income homebuyers to build or purchase homes, including mobile homes. $450 million
Farmworker Housing Construction or rehabilitation of rental or owner-occupied housing for farmworkers. $300 million
Veterans Home Loan Finance farm, home, and mobile home purchase assistance for veterans. $1 billion

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 1 No on Proposition 1
  • There is an extreme housing shortage with 2.2 million low income renter households competing for 664,000 affordable rental homes.
  • $1 billion will be dedicated to providing affordable housing to veterans.
  • Prop. 1 will create 137,000 new jobs and pump $23.4 billion into California’s economy.
  • California already has $74.2 billion in debt from general obligation bonds.
  • 1 will only lead to 15,000 affordable housing units being built at $300,000 per unit.
  • Prop. 1 does not require periodic audits to ensure the money is being spent in accordance with the initiative’s intent.

Analysis of Proposition 1 provided by John Ponce and Henry Mantel.

 

The 2017-18 legislative session was a lively one, as well as the last one ever to overseen by Governor Jerry Brown. To discuss the end of session and some of the historic legislation that came out of it, we talk with Aaron Brieno – Leg. Director to Sen. Ben Hueso – now former lobbyist Lexi Howard – she was a contract lobbyist at the time of recording – and lobbyist and friend of the show Chris Micheli.

As always, if you enjoyed today’s episode, please take the time to leave us a five-star rating on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher Radio, and subscribe to our show wherever you listen to podcasts. All of that makes The CAP⋅impact Podcast easier to find and more accessible.

You can also stay in touch with us and let us know what you thought about today’s show and think about the show generally on Facebook and Twitter. Just like CAP⋅impact on Facebook or follow @CAPimpactCA on Twitter.

The CAP⋅impact Podcast is made possible by the Capital Center for Law & Policy at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. You can learn more about the Capital Center here, and keep up with the Capital Center on Facebook and Twitter.

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 10, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law on October 24 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Details on the event here.

Proposition 10: Affordable Housing Act

Current Law

  • In 1996, California passed a statewide moderate limit on otherwise extreme vacancy control that was put in place in the 1980s.
  • While cities and counties continue to maintain the ability to implement local rent control laws, they must follow the parameters established in the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
  • At the heart of Costa-Hawkins are a number of basic rules: housing constructed after 1995 must be exempt from local rent controls; new housing that was already exempt from a local rent control law in place before February 1, 1995, must remain exempt; single family homes and other units like condominiums that are separate from the title to any other dwelling units must be exempt from local rent controls; rental property owners must have the ability to establish their own rental rates when dwelling units change tenancy.

Proposed Law

  • The measure repeals several sections of the California Civil Code, sections 1954.50 through 1954.53, which place limits on local rent control laws where cities and counties can regulate rents for any housing.
  • The section added to the California Civil code reads, “a city, county, or city and county shall have the authority to adopt a local charter provision, ordinance or regulation that governs a landlord’s right to establish and increase rental rates on a dwelling or housing unit.” Under this added provision, cities and counties can limit how much a landlord may increase rents when a new renter moves in.
  • Also, the second section added ensures that the measure itself does not make any changes to local rent control laws and does not impact the “fair rate of return” that property owners are allowed under past court rulings.

Policy Considerations

YES on Proposition 10 NO on Proposition 10
A YES vote means California law would not limit the kinds of rent control laws cities, counties, or other municipalities could have.

  • Allowing cities to impose rent control will help mitigate the housing crisis
  • Four in ten households spend 30% or more of household income on housing
  • Reducing cost of rent will give renters more money to spend on other goods and services, boosting the economy

Workers are forced to live far away from their place of employment

A NO vote means California law would not limit the kinds of rent control laws cities, counties, or other municipalities could have.

  • Rent control will drive up housing costs and force more people out of their homes
  • Giving local governments more power over the real estate market will exacerbate the housing crisis

Taxpayers will pay for the legal costs of defending local rent control regulations in court

Analysis of Proposition 10 by Henry Mantel and Sebastian Silveira.

If you missed last night’s Justices on Justice event, you missed out. Fortunately, you can catch the entire discussion here.

With so many fantastic and distinguished jurists sharing their wealth of knowledge last night it was nearly impossible to get through the questions prepared by our moderator, Professor Leslie Gielow Jacobs, let alone the great questions we received from our audience members and viewers online.

While we were not able to ask all of the questions that were submitted to us, we were able to ask a few, and you can listen to the answers to the questions in the videos below.

From a pre-law student – Was there ever a case where your personal ethics or moral system affected, or threatened to affect, your handling of a case?

Answer from former California Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grodin

Answer from United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (ret.)

Answer from Constitutional Court of Austria’s Judge Wolfgang Brandstetter

Answer from Presiding Judge Ann Power-Forde, Constitutional Court Chamber at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague

The second question that was asked, and directed specifically to Judge Power-Forde was: In the introductions, it was stated that Judge Power-Forde has emphasized children’s rights in her work. In your opinion, what are the next steps that need to be taken in the national and international community to protect the rights of children?

Judge Power-Forde’s answer to that question was:

There was a third question posed to the jurists, however, none of them attempted to respond to it in the very short amount of time left. That question was: What are your views on whether it is appropriate for judges to have life tenure?

Those are the three audience questions that were asked. Below are many of the other questions that were asked by audience members. This isn’t a full list, as there we multiple questions that were very similar.

  • What’s your favorite food?
  • How do you individually determine what is best for the people of your country? Do you fear that some people may not feel objectively justified by your decisions?
  • Do you think that the desire to be a justice disqualifies one from being a justice?
  • What current laws do you believe should be changed in order to help future generations?
  • Have you ever doubted if a decision you made was morally right as opposed to legally right?
  • What do you see as a growing problem within the field of law? How do we remedy these problems?
  • What is one piece of advice that you would give to young aspiring lawyers?
  • What was the hardest case you ever had to decide? Why?
  • Which case that decided was your favorite and why?
  • How do you distinguish justice from right and wrong?
  • When do you consider something “settled law?”
  • How do you balance animosity between justices on your respective courts? How does the debate/discussion flow?
  • What is the court’s involvement/influence in the issue of freedom of the press?
  • How is your Court funded?
  • Do you think that the ECHR can slow or stem the growth of the far right in Europe?
  • How do the courts strike a balance between education on the case and the merits of the parties?
  • Why do you think European countries were more willing to yield some of their sovereignty to the ECHR than the United States has been to yield some of its sovereignty to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights?
  • Are the decisions of your court influenced at all by the decisions other courts around the world?
  • When deciding a case, does the impact of the decision on the Court’s legitimacy sway your decision?
  • How would the U.S. program on immigration enforcement by separating minors from parents without a hearing fare under the ECHR?
  • What rights and/or values would be most helpful and strategic in encouraging coordination, mitigation, and accountability on the issue of climate change? How can local, national, international, and supernational courts work to mitigate the impacts of climate change?

There were also multiple questions on the confirmation process for U.S. Supreme Court justices, both in general terms and in terms specific to the most recent confirmation.

 

By: Devinn Larsen

The controversial practice of sexual orientation change efforts–also known as conversion therapy–attempts to change or alter an individual’s sexual orientation through various methods including but not limited to religious intervention, aversion therapy, and hypnosis. Most medical practitioners and professional medical organizations reject conversion therapy as a valid practice due to the financial and psychological risks associated with the practice such as financial burden, emotional trauma, risk of suicide, and depression.

In 2012, California became the first state to pass an outright ban of conversion therapy practices on minors. To further support and embrace California’s LGBTQ community and to protect from any harmful effects conversion therapy may cause, Assembly Member Evan Low (D – San Francisco) proposed AB 2943. The bill set out to extend the prohibition of conversion therapy practices to adults by making any advertisements for, offers to practice conversion therapy, or the actual practice of conversion therapy violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) as deceptive practices. As the CLRA declares services unlawful when represented as having the approval, benefit, or quality they do not have, the lack of substantiated evidence as to the success of conversion therapy after years of medical research sparked the introduction of AB 2943 to expand the ban of conversion therapy practices to all.

In the original version of the legislation, AB 2943 faced harsh criticism from many conservative and religious groups claiming the broad language of the bill infringed on constitutional freedoms of religion and speech. Many attempts to amend AB 2943 to better comply with individual liberties occurred, and in the latest version of the bill the CLRA violations extension included only advertisements for, offers to sell, and the actual sale of conversion therapy services.

Even with the amendments, concerns of conservative and religious groups remained prompting additional challenges relating to the breadth of the language used. After attempts to reconcile the language concerns failed and after passing through many stages on its way to becoming law, Assembly Member Low ordered AB 2943 to the inactive file, effectively killing the legislation for this legislation session.

In a statement made after the withdrawal of AB 2943, Assembly Member Low explained, “The best policy is not made in a vacuum and in order to advance the strongest piece of legislation, the bill requires additional time to allow for an inclusive process not hampered by legislative deadlines.” Only time will tell as to whether any alternative proposals of similar legislation taking such a strong stance on the protections afforded to California’s LGBTQ community will resurface.

To learn more about AB 2943, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Devinn Larsen is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Legislative Committee Rules (transcript)

Today’s post is on legislative committee rules.

Each standing committee of the California State Senate and the Assembly operate under the Joint Rules of the Legislature, as well as the Standing Rules of the Senate and the Standing Rules of the Assembly. Further, each standing committee may adopt rules governing their committees. These committee rules set forth the procedures and guidelines governing that legislative committee.

As a general rule, many of the committee rules contain some of the provisions that are outlined in today’s podcast, including provisions on committee worksheets, motions, and letters of support and opposition among many others. I hope you find today’s podcast helpful.

In August 2018, Sonoma City Councilmember Rachel Hundley was attacked by an anonymous group of internet trolls. Their tactic? Take pictures that Rachel had posted on her own Instagram account from Burning Man and combine those with some inflammatory accusations on a website. Their goal? Blackmail Rachel into not running for re-election by threatening to take that website public. In a bold move, Rachel countered their move by taking them on head on, calling them out for slut shaming her and trying to blackmail her into not running for re-election in the era of #MeToo. You can see that response here.

Today, we talk with Councilmember Hundley about that experience, and the additional challenges that she faces both running for and in office as a woman and as a millenial that her male and older counterparts do not have to face.

As always, if you enjoyed today’s episode, please take the time to leave us a five-star rating on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher Radio, and subscribe to our show wherever you listen to podcasts. All of that makes The CAP⋅impact Podcast easier to find and more accessible.

You can also stay in touch with us and let us know what you thought about today’s show and think about the show generally on Facebook and Twitter. Just like CAP⋅impact on Facebook or follow @CAPimpactCA on Twitter.

The CAP⋅impact Podcast is made possible by the Capital Center for Law & Policy at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. You can learn more about the Capital Center here, and keep up with the Capital Center on Facebook and Twitter.

By: Trisha Mannie

After the launch of #MeToo and revelations of many allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein became public, the media’s coverage of how common sexual harassment is in the workplace has become more prevalent.  Famous women are sharing their experiences and using their status to encourage other women to do the same, resulting in a drastic rise in awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment. The #MeToo and We Said Enough movements are only a couple of examples of how society is taking a stand to deter sexual harassment in the workplace. Now, more than ever, there is mounting pressure to put a halt to the somewhat normalized behaviors of sexual harassment occurring in the workplace that have hindered the success of many women’s careers for years.

SB 224 represents California’s goal to end sexual harassment in the workplace.  SB 224 acts to emphasize that those in powerful positions are liable for their actions by adding investors, producers, directors, lobbyists, and elected officials into legislation as examples of professional relationships where sexual harassment should not occur. This recognition of a broader scope of potentially liable professionals extends to include professional relationships that do not yet exist, but are offered. Additionally, SB 224 removes the requirement that the victim must prove the relationship was not able to be easily terminated before the harasser can be held liable for his or her actions. Lastly, SB 224 revises two Governmental Codes allowing the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to investigate cases of sexual harassment.

Through these changes, there is indication of a greater awareness for sexual harassment and a clear declaration that victims of these situations are supported by the law.  It promotes the eradication of professional behaviors of sexual harassment dictated by money, status, and power that have manipulated the vulnerable as they fear for their jobs. It removes blame from the victim by acknowledging that it is not up to the victim to terminate the relationship, but that the sexually harassing behavior should not have occurred in the first place. SB 224 makes it clear that victims are not alone as the DFEH plays a role, alongside the individual, in seeking justice.  The enactment of SB 224 unambiguously promulgates that those within professional relationships are entitled to respect, while reinforcing that those who violate this right should be held liable.

With its progressive ideals and underlying aim of achieving equality, SB 224 has faced no opposition. It passed in both the Senate and the Assembly and on September 30th, SB 224 was approved by Governor Brown. SB 224 is one step towards achieving the bigger picture of ending sexual harassment across multiple industries.

To learn more about SB 224, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Trisha Mannie is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

 

 

 

Recapping Governor Brown’s Bill Actions in 2018 (transcript)

Today’s post is a summary of the bill actions by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018, his last year in office.

While the 2018 legislative session concludes sine die on November 30th, for all practical purposes the session ended on September 30, which represented the last day by the constitution for Governor Brown to act on all the bills sent to his desk in those final weeks of the legislative session.

He actually acted on bills every month of the year – from January with just one bill through September where he acted on 941 bills. So there were well over 1,000 bills that reached his desk. The exact number? 1,217 of those bills.

Now, this year, the 2018 session that began in early January and concluded by the constitution on August 31 dealt with 2,225 bills were introduced between the two houses of the Legislature. The Senate introduced 694 bills in 2018. The Assembly introduced 1,531 bills.

Of those 1,217 that made it down, 55% of the bills introduced made it to the Governor’s desk and 45% of the bills introduced – again that 2,225 number – got signed into law while a mere 9% of the bills that were introduced got vetoed. Of course, of the 1,217 bills a certain number were signed and vetoed.

The Governor this year vetoed 201 bills, which represents 16.5% – the highest he’s ever done. Let’s look a little closer at those bills the Governor signed and vetoed this year. Again, the magical number was 1,217.

I go into a greater detailed breakdown of the bills signed and vetoed by Governor Brown in today’s podcast.